Monthly Archives: September 2011

DOUBLE DOWN

Tacos for lunch, tacos for dinner. With all the gorgeous peppers flooding the market in the last few weeks (I love the mild Poblanos), I’ve been on a pretty serious ropa vieja kick lately; though I don’t really use a recipe, a reliable one can be found here.

GOODBYES + HELLOS

I just can’t believe this is the last Mociun collection ever. Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a few of her pieces, from baggy black silk pants, tight mini dresses, boxy tops, leggings, scarves, bralets… the list goes on. I guess I’m a little addicted. This farewell collection hits all of the right nostalgia notes. (There are also quite a few stunning pieces from her spring collection on sale!)

[All images via Mociun tumblr]

Of course, there are still a million other artists making beautiful work, like Tara-Lynn Morrison’s line, good night, day. I’ve admired her fuzzy knit pieces on the Internet, but over the weekend I had the good fortune of admiring her work up close at POP Montreal’s Puces POP fair. This sweater, in particular, is perfect. Just the right amount of cropping and dip-dying, and so, so soft.

And finally, Jennifer of Ermie has been straight-up blowing my mind with her gorgeous fall collection. Never have I met anyone more on my wavelength when it comes to pattern, texture, and explosions of color. I can’t wait to see the full lookbook! [Image via Ermie blog]

FASTER THAN FAST

I thought about whether this pasta dish deserves a recipe, but honestly it doesn’t. I chose three of my favorite late-summer ingredients (fresh cranberry beans, one zucchini, one ear of corn), then sauteed everything in a pan with lemon, garlic, shallots, and butter until golden and soft. I love the handmade pastas at Marché Milano, which are always super fresh and affordable. (I spent about $6 for 10 portions’ worth). The pasta is quickly boiled and then tossed into the pan, alongside a few ladles of starchy pasta water, some grated Parmesan, a pinch of red chili flakes, and more lemon juice.

I love having fresh beans around the house when they’re in season, but sometimes, when you’re really hungry, the last thing you want to do is spent 10 minutes shelling a bowl of beans, and then wait another 30 minutes while they boil. I tend to make huge batches of fresh beans, and then freeze them in small quantities, ready to be consumed at a moment’s notice. Then you can enjoy a supremely satisfying lunch that materializes in about 15 minutes.

GOING GREEN

A quiet Sunday morning breakfast. We’re now dealing with the stumps of about four different loaves of bread, so I had a little bit of each, toasted, with some sharp cheddar and thick slices of heirloom tomato, for instant mini-tartines. This particular specimen was a real beauty — we only ate about one-third of it this morning — the size of both of my fists put together, and about 25 cents at the market. I’m really not ready for these tomatoes to leave us, but nature likes to play fair: We’re saying farewell to tomatoes, but we’re finally greeting pears — my favorite fruit. Even though they weren’t ready, I couldn’t wait to taste my first Flemish Beauty of the season. It was buttery and juicy, but still too crisp. I can’t wait to see what they’re like in 10 days.

BUCKET LIST

Guess I can check this one off my bucket list. Successfully interviewed, met, and took a photo with R. Stevie Moore. Surreal. Thank you to POP Montreal and Maisonneuve Magazine for making this happen. The festival has been incredible so far, so much great energy and wonderful people.

COMFORT FOOD FOR ONE

Thank you to everyone that came out to see my talk with R. Stevie Moore yesterday with POP Montreal. It was seriously so fun, really a thrill to interview such a music legend and favorite of mine. Now I can finally relax and enjoy the other stuff — today, Preservation Society selling goodies (like cream puffs and pop tarts!) at Puces POP, and my friend Hisham Mayet will be manning the Sublime Frequencies table at the Record Fair. It’s a beautiful day to spend some cash! Anyway, here’s my recipe for one of my favorite comfort food dishes, dal. I often make this for myself and eat the remainders from the pot for days afterwards. It’s great for breakfast or lunch — I had mine this morning with crispy oven-roasted potatoes.

Quick Dal

[Notes: I always prefer to toast my own spices whole, then pulverize up in my coffee grinder. But I'm still working through the Indian spices I brought back from Singapore last year, and those are already in powder form. But use seeds if you wish!]

1 cup red lentils, washed and picked through for stones
4 cups vegetable broth (again, I keep homemade reserves in our freezer, it really makes a difference!)
3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
2 small shallots, chopped finely
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon hot curry powder
2 tablespoons butter (ghee if you have it, I didn’t have the patience to make it — I just wanted to eat!)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 lemon, juiced (this is optional, but I love the tang the juice brings)
Avocado oil
salt, pepper

—In a large enamel-coasted cast iron pot, heat butter and avocado oil over low to medium heat. Add shallots and tomato paste and cook until tender.
—Add minced garlic, ginger and all spices. Stir until fragrant, one minute.
—Add rinsed lentils and stir to coat, 30 seconds.
—Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer.
—Cook lentils until tender, about 30 minutes. Should happen pretty fast! Add more water if pot starts to look dry.
—Salt and pepper as needed, and taste. The dal should be tender and almost like a porridge.
—Serve with rice, cilantro (I was all out!), and a squeeze of lemon.

HAPPY MATCH

Whenever we see a good deal on fresh lobsters, we buy one or two. Always. A local supermarket was offering fresh, whole lobsters for 7.99/lb, so without thinking about it too much, we bought one and made a comforting pot of risotto. Easiest, fastest way to feel super fancy.

Lobster Risotto

[Note: Some people insist that a proper risotto should have cream, butter, and cheese, but it's so easy to make a gorgeous, creamy risotto without any of these things. Now that I know how good it is without those things, I rarely add them. Why bother? So I omitted all of those ingredients and used a big spoonful of goose fat instead. Equal evils, I guess. This would also be nice with a bit of lemon juice and zest. Also, Richard Olney has a nice tip for successful risotto — bring the liquid, whether it's wine, broth, or water, to a low simmer, so you're ladling hot liquid onto hot rice.]

1 cup arborio rice
2 shallots, chopped and minced
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced (we love the ‘Music’ variety that can be found at the market for a pretty penny)
2 cups white wine
2 cups chicken stock (I always keep some frozen, the taste is so much deeper than the store-bought stuff)
1 small lobster, boiled and chopped into big pieces (keep those magnificent claws intact)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh tarragon and parsley, torn

—In a heavy, enamel-coated cast iron pot, gently heat olive oil (and goose fat, if you’re using it!) and saute shallots until soft. Do not brown.
—Add rice and garlic and stir, 30 seconds, to coat and lightly toast. Salt generously.
—Add ladles of white wine and chicken broth, alternating, and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. When the liquid has reduced by half, add another ladle of liquid.
—As the risotto thickens, the rice should be tender but have a definite bite to it. In the final moments, stir in the boiled lobster pieces.
—Top with torn tarragon, parsley, freshly cracked black pepper, lemon wedges, and a chilled bottle of white Burgundy.

MILLING AROUND

Have you ever used a tomato mill? (This one belongs to Michelle and Anthony). I had never used (or seen) one before, but after a major windfall purchase of Roma specimens at the market we decided to give it a shot. It was messy, loud, and effective, and produced half a dozen jars of sauce in no time at all — perfect for drenching over pasta with grilled eggplant and squash.

I’VE MOVED!!

After years of casual blogging, I’m stoked to announce that I finally bought the domain to my actual name — Natasha Pickowicz. Everything else remains the same, but my awesome web guru Sean made a few subtle aesthetic tweaks that I love. (Bigger, juicier photos!) The site will continue to evolve as I get more familiar with the new platform — like re-adding my blogroll and fixing up the archive — but in the meantime, Google Readers and blog subscribers, please update your link! I would be so grateful.

Okay, onto other sweet things: Dépanneur Le Pick Up is partnering up again with POP Montreal for some rad on-site events, including a four-day residency with Toronto-based performance artist Peanut Brittle. There will be a multitude of guest DJs through the duration of our WEZY broadcast, and I’ll be behind the decks in our little ice hut today from 4:30-6pm. You can watch our broadcast live stream (!) here, or tune in, analog-style, to 104.6FM. Can I just take a moment to say how rad it has been to get involved again with radio? Yes. It has been rad.

ONE MOORE TIME

Ratatouille, day 2 — even better than ratatouille, day 1. (Full recipe here). Too bad there is no more ratatouille to see if it gets even better on day 3.

On a different note — I wrote a piece for Maisonneuve Magazine describing my favorite R. Stevie Moore video moments. I find his videos hysterical and it was a lot of fun to sift through all of his (bizarre) work. The piece was written in conjunction with an event I’m featured in on Friday, as part of POP Montreal’s Symposium series. I’ll be interviewing R. Stevie Moore at 3:30pm at the POP Headquarters — please come check it out! (Oh and finally, my friend Sean wrote a handy guide to POP Montreal for the overwhelmed. It’s enormously helpful. Check it.)